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'Family Weekend' at IWU

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FAMILY BONDING: Parent Michael Stahly takes part in a game of “archery tag” at Indiana Wesleyan University’s “Family Weekend.”
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INTRAMURAL FUN: Thomas Moon, left, and his sister, Victoria Moon, participate in a game of “can jam,” at Indiana Wesleyan University’s “Family Weekend” event. The premise of the game is to knock a frisbee into a can. More than 600 people attended the weekend full of events.

By Clay Winowiecki - cwinowiecki@chronicle-tribune.com

College students and their families are sharing time together this weekend at Indiana Wesleyan University’s annual “Family Weekend.”

Students, their siblings, parents and others play games, dine and watch shows together. The weekend saw around 600 people visit IWU.

“Family Weekend is a time for families to come and visit their students, a time to connect and a time to encourage their students,” said Associate Director for Alumni and Parent Relations Krista Brown.

Brown’s office has been trying to make sure students and parents have plenty of free time to chat and wander around so they can bond.

Some events at the university have taken place during Family Weekend for the past 20 years.

“We saw some parents talking about it who (stated they remember) this from when they were students and now they’re attending it with their own students,” Brown said.

The events provide an important time for students and family members to bond, Brown added. Giving them a chance to ask questions such as how things are going for their students, what’s important to them right now and what issues they’re working through in their lives.

The main event was set for Saturday night, when a formal banquet and entertainment, featuring magician Steve Cabe, a 2016 IWU alum, had been planned.

“We give (family and students) time to sit at the table and be together,” she said. “Creating spaces and opportunities is really what this weekend is about.”

Bringing family members onto campus is valuable for students, who are experiencing and learning new aspects about life away from home on a daily basis.

“It’s a great opportunity for parents and family to come here and see what students are doing on campus,” she said. “It creates a different opportunity than when the students go home. You walk past a building and your student can say ‘I have a class in that building.’”

For Steve Moon, whose daughter is a sophomore at IWU, the weekend is something they do every year.

“I get to see the campus, I get to interact with her and she’s able to tell me things that go on throughout the year,” Moon said. “That’s what I like about it, because you’re able to see what’s going on.”

The weekend’s events include the chance to do activities families are unable to do at home, such as play intramural sports.

One such event was called ‘archery tag.’ The archery game featured bows with soft-tipped arrows and inflatable walls to hide behind.

One family taking part was the Stahly family.

“I’m trying to shoot my kid,” Michael Stahly joked.

Stahly said it was important to see his daughter at school and share time with her.

“She’s a senior this year,” he added. “She got old fast.”

Brown always looks forward to the event.

“I love this weekend,” she said. “My favorite events are Family Weekend and Grandparents Day. It’s incredible to see families join together to surround their student and support them.”